Stu­dents im­mersed in theater for ‘To Kill a Mock­ing­bird’

The Palm Beach Post - Neighborhood Post - Western Palm Beach County - - Front Page - By Michael Read­ling Spe­cial to The Palm Beach Post

sched­ule of three weeks of re­hearsals be­fore the play opens and work the same kind of reg­u­lar hours as the A bunch of lo­cal ac­tors pro­fes­sion­als do.” and cre­ative theater minds While try­ing to fig­ure out get to­gether to put on a prothe mes­sage and per­fect their duc­tion of “To Kill a Mock­vi­sion, stu­dents take part in in­g­bird” for a one-night-only can­did meet­ings. In the case sum­mer show­ing. of “To Kill a Mock­ing­bird,”

Sounds like a pretty sim­stu­dents dis­cussed race re­laple plan, right? Put to­gether tions and how things have a set. Learn some lines. It is and haven’t changed since sum­mer, af­ter all, time to 1930 in Alabama where the re­lax a bit. book is set.

You obvi ously have n’t “We try to choose a play heard about the Maltz Jup­i­that will chal­lenge us and help ter The­atre’s Youth Artist’s us grow. ‘To Kill a Mock­ingChair. bird’ is cer­tainly that op­por

T h i s p r o g r a m, wh i c h tu­nity,” Rowe said. “It al­lows be­gan at the theater in 2011, the stu­dents to share in­sights im­merses stu­dents from as in what they see in their comy­oung as fifth grade all the mu­nity, what the story means way up to their late 20s in the to them and how the story pro­duc­tion of a well-known can make the world a bet­ter work. Per­for­mances have place. It was a very frank dis­in­cluded “The Di­ary of Anne cus­sion about race re­la­tions — Frank,” “Rhinoceros,” “The and what we see in our comGlass Menagerie,” “The Cru­mu­nity and how we can be cible” and “Ham­let,” among an agent of change.” others. One of the stu­dent roles is

It be­gins with an in­terthat of dra­maturge, filled by view and selec­tion process, 16-year-old Brielle Co­hen, who which led to 35 filled roles put to­gether a case­book filled (both on­stage and be­hind with his­tor­i­cal ref­er­ences the scenes) . Each role — and to help with those con­ver­this in­cludes ev­ery­thing from sa­tions and add a lit­tle per­act­ing to di­rect­ing to cos­tume spec­tive when plan­ning the de­sign and props — is paired per­for­mance. with a men­tor from the JupiIn or­der to make sure that ter The­atre pro­fes­sional staff. not only the mes­sage is right,

The sum­mer is spent pre­but the de­liv­ery is cor­rect and par­ing for the per­for­mance, gets their point across, the which is set to take place stu­dents re­cently trav­eled to Aug. 11. “Pre­par­ing” is the a lo­cal court­room to wit­ness key word. court ac­tiv­i­ties. This kind of

“We spend the month of re­search is im­por­tant when June in weekly cre­ative meetit comes to things such as ings, go­ing over the process, the piv­otal court­room scene talk­ing about the play, brainin the book and pro­duc­tion, storm­ing the mes­sage we want Rowe said. to con­vey and the vi­sions we One of the peo­ple work­ing have for the story,” said Julie with them on the play is a di­aRowe, Maltz Jupiter The­atre’s lect ex­pert, who is help­ing a di­rec­tor of ed­u­ca­tion, who is bunch of Palm Beach County over­see­ing the pro­gram. “We teenagers per­fect the 1930s have guest speak­ers come in Alabama ac­cent. and talk to them. Then, in “Theater is a team sport July, we be­gin re­hearsals. We that takes so many peo­ple to op­er­ate on the pro­fes­sional make the story come to life,” Rowe said. “This pro­gram helps the stu­dent un­der­stand the real team ef­fort it takes to make this story hap­pen. It’s not just about the per­son down front in the light. There are so many peo­ple in­volved.”

PHOTO BY JEFF BARRY

Cast mem­bers Alexan­der Good­win-Elam (stand­ing, from left), Luca Ri­ley and Me­lanie McDonald (fore­ground), and As­sis­tant Stage Man­ager Mitchell Hock­en­son (seated, from left), As­sis­tant Stage Man­ager Maya Arias, Stage Man­ager Gabriella Smith, As­sis­tant...

PHOTO BY JEN VASBINDER

Me­lanie McDonald, 12, plays Scout in “To Kill a Mock­ing­bird.” Stu­dents at the Maltz Jupiter The­atre have been tak­ing part in a free sum­mer men­tor­ship pro­gram to pro­duce the drama on­stage.

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